Verbier Festival

Verbier Festival
The Verbier Festival is an annual international classical music festival held in the village of Verbier, a mountain resort in the Swiss Alps. Running over two weeks in late July and early August, it is the highlight of the summer season in the Verbier area.

The Verbier Festival was founded by Swedish expatriate Martin T. Son Engström in 1994. Engström wanted to create a summer festival in the very heart of the Swiss Alps, far from big cities that typically host major festivals. He felt that intimate atmosphere of a small Alpine village would encourage musical excellence. Engström imagined an event where audiences would have a wide choice of activities from early morning until late at night and world-class artists would pass their knowledge on to the next generation of young performers.

The first Verbier Festival had a spectacular line-up that included renowned musicians such as Evgeny Kissin (piano), Maxim Vengerov (violin), Dmitry Sitkovetsky (violin), Mischa Maisky (cello), Gidon Kremer (violin), Yefim Bronfman (piano), Yuri Bashmet (viola), Natalia Gutman (cello), Isaac Stern (violin), and Frans Helmerson (cello).

Over the years, the Verbier Festival has become one of the world’s most famous classical music festivals. It has attracted world-class performers such as Julian Lloyd Webber, Khatia Buniatishvili, Yuja Wang, Daniil Trifonov, Bryn Terfel, Anoushka Shankar, Julian Rachlin, Thomas Quasthoff, Lawrence Power, Lang Lang, Leonidas Kavakos, Hilary Hahn, Emanuel Ax, Lera Auerbach, Martha Argerich, Leif Ove Andsnes, Piotr Anderszewski, and many others.

The Verbier Festival offers a series of concerts for both connoisseurs and those who are just starting to discover the wonderful world of classical music. It also offers the Fest’Off program which includes more informal events such as jazz concerts, walks, etc. held in non-conventional venues.

Since the inception of the festival, Engström and his team have striven to discover, encourage and support new talents. The festival hosts several learning programs designed to nurture young musicians. For example, the Verbier Festival Academy runs for three weeks every summer, giving over 50 young artists a unique opportunity to learn from the world’s leading musicians, educators and industry professionals.

Alongside the Academy, the festival has the Verbier Festival Orchestra for musicians aged between 18 and 28, the Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra for musicians aged between 15 and 18, and the Verbier Festival Discovery program. The Verbier Festival Discovery is a series of talks, discussions, and workshops for adults and children that gives a chance to learn more about music and related fields.

In 2020, the event was held online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Verbier Festival

Photo: R H Kamen




Related Articles